Chefs have got to be noisy in the kitchen to be any good at what they do. At least that’s what reality TV has led us to believe. My best restaurant experience however, dispels that illusion.

Some years ago my wife and I were given an amazing gift from our family; dinner at The French Café in Auckland. This wonderful establishment is owned and run by the husband and wife team of Creghan Molloy-Wright (Manager) and Simon Wright (Executive Chef). It has for many years received the highest accolades both nationally and internationally.

The food, wine and service were exceptional and we came away wowed by the experience. Nothing was too much trouble and the staff ensured that we had a memorable evening. They just seemed to achieve the right degree of attentiveness; there to serve, but not to disrupt. Every dish brought to us was a work of art and a culinary delight.

But the one thing that stood out to me more than anything was the quiet way all this happened. There was an open space in the wall between the kitchen and dining area, giving patrons a view of what was going on behind the scenes. Having been fed a television diet of ego driven celebrity chefs, swearing and shouting at their under-performing staff, I was surprised to see the quiet brilliance of a well-run kitchen delivering fine dining at its best, in almost complete silence.

I watched mesmerised as the chefs and kitchen staff quietly went about their work and I celebrated a dining experience that was second to none in every respect.

Whether in the arena of fine dining or just about anything else, brilliance can be delivered in the context of egos, anger, noise and fanfare. But when brilliance is served up respectfully, joyfully, quietly and humbly, it takes the experience of those on the receiving end to a whole new level.

The team at The French Café inspires me to excel at what I do best, and to do it quietly.

Photo: Flynt/